Virginia Commonwealth University has been granted nearly $2.4 million to expand its community outreach program for cancer research to Southside and Southwest Virginia. Here is a press release from VCU:
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center was recently awarded a two-year, $2.391 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (Tobacco Commission) to expand the breadth of the Center’s community involvement and grow its state-of-the-art clinical research and cancer specialist delivery system. That delivery system is already in place in communities across Virginia, such as in the Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, and Newport News areas.
The award builds upon a previous grant of $1 million that the Tobacco Commission awarded to VCU Massey in 2008. The first grant supported Massey in bringing its nationally recognized cancer clinical trials and prevention and control research to Southside and Southwest Virginia through a new cancer research community outreach program.
The latest grant will support VCU Massey in expanding that work. Specifically, it provides funding for the extension of Massey’s cancer prevention and control and epidemiologic research initiatives into the Virginia Southside and Southwest tobacco counties. It also helps fund the expansion of a health information literacy program for the citizens of those communities, as well as the implementation of a comprehensive cancer needs assessment to identify gaps in cancer services and then to mobilize resources to meet the identified cancer needs of those counties.
“The ultimate goal of our community outreach work is to reduce the suffering and death from cancer for citizens throughout the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., Director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. “We are grateful for the Tobacco Commission’s support of these efforts, and we are pleased that through their partnership, we can bring Massey’s experts and top-notch cancer care to Virginia’s predominately rural areas, where we are most needed because cancer mortality rates are higher there than elsewhere in the country.”
“We are pleased to assist VCU Massey Cancer Center in its research program,” said Tobacco Commission Chairman and Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore. “The Tobacco Commission believes it will be a great asset to the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens.”
Experts estimate that, this year, more than 14,000 Virginians will die of cancer and approximately 36,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the Commonwealth. The number is expected to double to 70,000 by 2040.
Cancer’s economic impact in Virginia is estimated at $2.6 billion in lifetime productivity. A 1 percent reduction in cancer mortality rates would reduce health care costs by millions of dollars annually. And early detection and prevention practices can save millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid expenses if effectively implemented.
The work funded by this grant is aimed directly at resolving these issues – to increase cancer prevention and early detection, and decrease cancer mortality rates, throughout the state of Virginia. “VCU Massey Cancer Center is proud to lead that effort,” said Dr. Ginder.